In a move that will come as no surprise to anyone, Steve McQueen’s tale of a lonely sex addict will go out with an NC-17 certificate for scenes containing sexually explicit content.

While the rating typically means some theatres will not carry the film, observers said the awards season buzz that has already coalesced around the drama and its lead Michael Fassbender may in fact make Shame even more of a must-see for the arthouse crowd.

McQueen is understood to have stipulated to Fox Searchlight that it could not change a single frame of his film, even if it got an NC-17 rating.

Searchlight acquired US rights following its world premiere in Venice, shortly before the Toronto International Film Festival screenings.